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Niko’s owners sued over promissory note

Washington Trust Bank is suing the owners of Niko’s, the downtown Spokane restaurant that closed suddenly in early March.

Niko’s Gourmet Inc. and owners Laith and Abeer Elaimy have refused to make payments on a $168,996 promissory note first signed in May 2000, according to the complaint filed Tuesday in Spokane County Superior Court.

The note is secured by one boat and several vehicles, including a 1965 Mustang, 1967 Pontiac LeMans and 2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser. The collateral is worth about $105,827.

The titles are held by Washington Trust, but the Elaimys have refused to surrender the collateral to the bank, the suit says.

Laith Elaimy, through a spokesperson, said when Niko’s closed he was retiring after 26 years running the restaurant.

Bert Caldwell

Auto sales up on jobs outlook, efficient cars

DETROIT – U.S. sales of new cars and trucks rose in March, helped by a brighter jobs outlook and rising sales of fuel-efficient vehicles.

New vehicle sales rose 11 percent at General Motors, 16 percent at Ford, 23 percent at Honda and 27 percent at Nissan, all aided by sales of smaller, more efficient cars and crossovers, which look like truck-based SUVs but are more fuel efficient and nimble because they are built on car underpinnings.

Of major automakers, only Toyota Motor Corp. reported a decline, nearly 6 percent.

Associated Press

Nasdaq, ICE bid for NYSE Euronext

NEW YORK – Nasdaq is teaming up with IntercontinentalExchange to make an $11.3 billion counteroffer for the parent of the New York Stock Exchange.

The joint bid is a challenge to Deutsche Boerse, the owner of the Frankfurt stock exchange, which has said it will buy NYSE Euronext for about $10 billion.

Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. and derivatives market IntercontinentalExchange Inc. said Friday that their offer marks a 19 percent premium to Deutsche Boerse’s bid.

Associated Press

Dividends raised by record amounts

NEW YORK – Big companies increased their dividends by a record amount in the first quarter.

Since the start of the year, 117 companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index said they would raise or start paying dividends. The value of the new and raised annual dividends announced by these companies amounted to a record $16.6 billion, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P. Just 78 companies raised their dividends in the same period a year ago.

Associated Press

Dish, Icahn make bids for Blockbuster

NEW YORK – Several bidders are set to duke it out for Blockbuster Inc. at a bankruptcy auction in New York on Monday. They reportedly include Dish Network Corp. and billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

The movie-rental chain has received several bids other than the opening bid of $290 million from a group of debtholders made in February. Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September.

Dish and Icahn have each submitted a bid, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.

Associated Press